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Saturday, October 5, 2013
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste
With the government closed, members of Congress quickly said they’d be taking home no paycheck while hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers cannot. But will lawmakers forgo fund raising? That was the bigger question raised when Common Cause demanded they cease for the duration.
A host of congressional fund raisers scheduled for the week were canceled by Tuesday, the first day of the shutdown. President Obama canceled an event, as well. But Common Cause noted in an email to the Huffington Post, “Not all members have said they would follow suit, and there has been no word from party leadership on this issue . . . . There’s every reason to believe there’s fundraising still going on.”
Uh-huh. Huff Post samples of email solicitations on Monday tell the story: From Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, “This is the extremism that our grassroots network is tasked with fighting against. And the FEC deadline at the end of the month gives us another opportunity . . . .” From Republican Sen. Mike Lee, “The only way we can win is if the American people raise their voices . . . . The clock is ticking, and I need your help right now.”
For what? Re-election, of course.
Franklin County, do you read?
Franklin County is blessed and cursed with mountainous terrain. It’s beautiful, but it creates lots of challenges. One is emergency radio communications. The county’s system is reliable across only 60 percent of its territory. An upgrade is likely to cost between $15 million and $26 million.
That’s an alarming figure for a county government that operates on about $124 million a year. But the county is blessed and cursed with a board of supervisors so tight, the Indian on the face of a nickel could ride the buffalo on the flip side.
That makes for a lot of hemming and hawing over what counts as necessary spending. But it also means the county is carrying a low debt load at a time when interest rates are down.
The chief of the Callaway Volunteer Fire Department and the county’s director of public safety recently advised the supervisors that the county needs the radio upgrade. Public Safety Director Daryl Hatcher put it bluntly: “Being able to communicate is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.”
The supervisors should take that to the bank. Providing for the public safety is a basic government function, and reliable communication is basic to that.
Live by the web, die by the web
Another sign that the world of commerce is not your father’s world anymore: Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles has reversed itself, and made an electric car maker the exception to the rule, set by state law, that car manufacturers must sell cars through a dealer unless none is available.
After the maker, the state auto dealers association and the DMV talked, here’s the deal for Tesla Motors’ unique marketing scheme: Customers would be able to go to a Tesla outlet at Tysons Corner, choose options on a touch screen, and place their orders. No inventory. No dealership.
The car maker’s stock dropped this week, however, after an online video of a fire in the front end of its Model S went viral. Metal road debris had damaged a module in the battery pack on its underbody. No one was hurt, outside of investors.
Weather JournalWarmth next 2 days hits icy wall